Two of the most widespread illnesses that affect health globally are cancer and tuberculosis. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a report stating that tuberculosis has one of the highest mortality rates of all infectious diseases worldwide, resulting in an estimated 1.5 million deaths in 2018. Additionally, TB may promote the development of cancer. Cancer of the lung is primarily caused by this. This article focuses on the specifics of lung cancer and tuberculosis, how the latter can lead to the former, and how the two conditions are treated medically because both can be fatal.
What do the terms “lung cancer” and “tuberculosis” mean?
Lung cancer develops when lung cells grow uncontrollably and form a tumorous mass. On chest x-rays or CT (or “CAT”) scans, this can be seen as a mass or nodule. Compared to non-smokers, smokers have a much higher risk of developing lung cancer. However, it can also happen to non-smokers. In addition to air pollution and genetics, other risk factors for lung cancer include exposure to radon, asbestos, and passive smoking.
M. tuberculosis is the bacterium that causes the disease, which typically affects the lungs and is known as pulmonary TB. Other body parts, such as the lymph nodes, kidneys, bones, and joints, may also be adversely affected. When someone who has untreated TB lung disease coughs, sneezes, laughs, or sings, tuberculosis is spread through the air. For an infection to happen, a person must have long-term close contact with someone who has untreated TB lung disease and breathe in TB germs. Tuberculosis can be both active and latent in nature.
How is cancer caused by tuberculosis?
The leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide are cancer and tuberculosis, which also pose a serious threat to global public health. Cancer development during TB may result from its persistent inflammation. This is due to the fact that tuberculosis is a chronic illness that causes the production of cytokines, which promote the growth and development of pulmonary tumors. It should be stressed that this might cause genetic harm. Just keep in mind that pulmonary cancer mortality was higher in those with tuberculosis than in those without.
What medical options are there for treating lung cancer and tuberculosis?
Lung cancer treatment options are complicated. The specifics of these options are generally determined by the kind and stage of the lung cancer, the patient’s preferences, and any additional medical conditions he or she might have. Numerous treatments are combined, either all at once or one after another.
Patients with early-stage disease, where there is a high chance of completely removing cancer, are offered lung surgery. The removal includes cancer, some healthy lung tissue, and lymph nodes. As a result, there is a lower chance that cancer will return later. High energy x-rays are used in radiation to kill cancer cells and reduce tumour size. Chemotherapy is frequently combined with it. Targeted therapy and immunotherapy are additional options.
People who have latent tuberculosis should be treated, with prescribed medication for three to nine months, by a healthcare professional. People with TB disease need to take a number of medications for at least six months. At least four anti-TB drugs are part of the initial treatment regimen. A healthcare professional must choose the precise medication regimen. All TB disease patients should enroll in directly observed therapy (DOT) programs to help them finish their course of treatment.
Active TB is also treated using a combination of medications. The most widely used drugs are rifampin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol. The doctor might prescribe one or more different medications if you have drug-resistant TB. They could require one to take them for up to 30 months and come with more side effects. Please understand that untreated individuals risk serious illness or death in addition to spreading the disease to others.
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